Institute of Astronomy

Murdin Prize

A generous donation from Professor Paul Murdin has allowed the Institute of Astronomy to establish an annual Murdin Prize for the best published journal paper produced by a current Ph.D. student.

Students who are within three years of the start of their Ph.D. are eligible for the prize.  PhD CDT students are also eligible, providing the papers have been accepted no later than 31st January in their final year.  A committee assesses submissions and results are usually announced by the middle of September.

2022 - Jointly awarded to:

Sean Jordan - “Proposed energy-metabolisms cannot explain the atmospheric chemistry of Venus” - Sean Jordan, Oliver Shorttle & Paul B. Rimmer.

Chiara Scardoni - “Inward and outward migration of massive planets: moving towards a stalling radius” - Scardoni, Chiara E.; Clarke, Cathie J.; Rosotti, Giovanni P.; Booth, Richard A.; Alexander, Richard D.; Ragusa, Enrico.

Julia Sisk-Reynes - “New constraints on light axion-like particles using Chandra transmission grating spectroscopy of the powerful cluster-hosted quasar H1821+643” - Julia M. Sisk-Reynes, James J. Matthews, Christopher S. Reynolds, Helen R. Russell, Robyn N. Smith and M.C. David Marsh.


2021 - Jointly awarded to:

Roger de Belsunce - “Inference of the optical depth to reionization from low multipole temperature and polarisation Planck data”. 

Andrew Everall - “Completeness of the Gaia-verse - IV. The astrometry spread function of Gaia DR2”.

Zephyr Penoyre - “Binary Deviations from Signal Object Astrometry”.

Rosie Talbot - “Blandford-Znajek jets in galaxy formation simulations: method and implementation”.    


2020 - Jointly awarded to:

Daniel Muthukrishna - "RAPID: Early Classification of Explosive Transients Using Deep Learning". 2019PASP..131k8002M (

Anjali Piette - "Considerations for Atmospheric Retrieval of High-Precision Brown Dwarf Spectra".  (

Amy Rankine - "BAL and non-BAL quasars: continuum, emission, and absorption properties establish a common parent sample". (

Luis Welbanks - "Mass–Metallicity Trends in Transiting Exoplanets from Atmospheric Abundances of H2O, Na, and K".  (


2019 - Jointly awarded to :

Sophie Koudmani - “Fast and energetic AGN-driven outflows in simulated dwarf galaxies” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 484, Issue 2, p.2047-2066 April 2019

Inigo Zubeldia - “Cosmological constraints from Planck galaxy clusters with CMB lensing mass bias calibration”


2018 - Jointly awarded to:

Nicholas Henden - "The FABLE simulations: A Feedback Model for Galaxies, Groups and Clusters", 2018MNRAS.479.5385H

Peter Kosec - "Evidence for a Variable Ultrafast Outflow in the Newly Discovered Ultraluminous Pulsar NGC 300 ULX-1", 2018MNRAS.479.3978K

GyuChul Myeong - "Discovery of New Retrograde Substructures: the Shards of w Centauri?", 2018MNRAS.478.5449M


2017 - Jointly awarded to:

Adam Jermyn ​- "Tidal heating and stellar irradiation of Hot Jupiters", 2017MNRAS.469.1768J

Ryan MacDonald ​- "HD 209458b in New Light: Evidence of Nitrogen Chemistry, Patchy Clouds and Sub-Solar Water", 2017MNRAS.469.1979M

​Bjoern Soergel - "Detection of the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect with DES Year 1 and SPT", 2016MNRAS.461.3172S


2016Jointly awarded to:

Sebastian Marino – “Exocometary gas in the HD 181327 debris ring”, 2016MNRAS.460.2933M

Gabriel Torrealba – “The feeble giant. Discovery of a large and diffuse Milky Way dwarf galaxy in the constellation of Crater'', 2016MNRAS.459.2370T


2015Luca Matra - "CO mass upper limits in the Fomalhaut ring - the importance of NLTE excitation in debris discs and future prospects with ALMA", 2015, MNRAS 447, 3936.


2014 Jointly awarded to:

Thomas Collett - “Cosmological Constraints from the double source plane lens SDSSJ0946+1006” arXiv:1403.5278, 2014MNRAS.443..969C

Tiago Costa - “The environment of bright QSOs at z ˜ 6: star-forming galaxies and X-ray emission. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 439, Issue 2, p.2146-2174, 2014MNRAS.439.2146C


2013Erin Kara - "The Closest Look at 1H0707-495: X-ray Reverberation Lags with 1.3 Ms of Data", 2013MNRAS.428.2795K 


2012 Alis Deason - "The Milky Way stellar halo out to 40 kpc: Squashed, broken but smooth", 2011MNRAS.416.2903D.








Page last updated: 15 November 2022 at 16:24